How bad have the Blues’ injury troubles been this season? Well, Steve Ott, who has missed the past 53 games following surgery to repair both of his hamstrings in December, is battling another ailment while already on the shelf.
The Blues announced Wednesday evening that Ott, 33, has been diagnosed with Colitis and will be re-evaluated by the staff at Washington University Orthopedics Center in two weeks’ time. Colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that can impact the large intestine. With Ott needing at least an additional two weeks recovery time, it makes it even less likely he’s back any time before the second round of the post-season.
Ott, who has been out since Dec. 5, was originally slated to miss three months of action, but he’s yet to return to action. However, it was expected that he would be returning soon — possibly in time for Game 1 of the playoffs — before the Colitis diagnosis. Ott has two points in 21 games before falling injured and was averaging nearly 11 minutes of ice time per game.
If Ott can’t return before the end of the first round of the post-season — and if St. Louis fails to advance — it’s possible the additional injury is enough to effectively end his time as a Blue. Ott’s in the final season of a two-year, $5.2-million deal he signed with St. Louis in July 2014, but the Blues will likely be looking to find spots for the young talent coming up through the AHL, a few of which have already assumed Ott’s normal spot on the fourth line.
Ott was one of the first major injuries of the season for the Blues, but it’s been a trying season in terms of health throughout the campaign in St. Louis. Only Troy Brouwer has played in all 80 games for the Blues so far this season, and major injuries have sidelined forwards Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, Patrik Berglund and Jaden Schwartz this season, while defensemen Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jay Bouwmeester and Carl Gunnarsson have all been forced to miss time this season.
The Blues have barely been able to go a game without at least one injury scare, and St. Louis even had another injury scare ahead of Thursday’s game against the Blackhawks as goaltender Brian Elliott was forced to leave practice early. Elliott was fine, however, and will suit up against Chicago. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said the injury scare with Elliott was “typical of the way things are going.”
"Let's talk about the weather. Let's do something different," Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Tom Timmermann. "It is what it is. Batten down the hatches, get 20 guys to play and we'll see."